EVENTS, birthdays, anniversaries
1792: King Louis XVI of France went on trial accused of high treason and crimes against the state. He was guillotined on January 21, 1793.
1816: Britain restored Java, Indonesia, to the Netherlands.
1845: Sikhs crossed Sutlej River in India and surprised British, causing outbreak of war.
1878: French-British dual control in Egypt was suspended.
1903: The first wildlife preservation society in Britain was founded under the name Society for the Preservation of the Wild Fauna of the Empire.
1905: Henry Campbell-Bannerman, son of the Lord Provost of Glasgow, formed a government following the resignation of Arthur Balfour, and was the first leader to be given official use of the title “prime minister”.
1907: The parliament buildings in New Zeland were almost completely destroyed by fire.
1914: Royal Flying Corps adopted the red, white and blue roundel for aircraft identification.
1931: Statute of Westminster, recognising independence of the Commonwealth, became law.
1937: Italy withdrew from the League of Nations.
1941: United States declared war against Germany and Italy; the Dutch government in London declared war on Italy.
1946: the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF) was established.
1951: Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio announced his retirement.
1961: Two US helicopter companies arrived in Saigon on aircraft carrier in first direct American military support for South Vietnam’s battle against Communist guerrillas.
1964: A terrorist fired a mortar shell at the United Nations building in New York while Che Guevara was making a speech at its general assembly.
1967: The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) was established.
1972: Two Apollo 17 astronauts, Captain Eugene Cernan and Doctor Harrison Schmitt, landed on the Moon in lunar module Challenger. They took three Moon walks in the Taurus-Littrow area.
1977: Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams, co-leaders of the “Peace People” in Northern Ireland, were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (the prize for 1976).
1978: Six masked men bound ten employees in the Lufthansa cargo area at New York’s Kennedy Airport and made off with $5.5 million in cash and jewellery.
1981: In his last fight, 39-year-old Muhammad Ali was defeated over ten rounds by Trevor Berbick, in Nassau, Bahamas.
1987: Charlie Chaplin’s famous cane and bowler were sold at Christie’s for £82,500, and his boots for £38,500.
1994: President Boris Yeltsin sent Russian tanks and troops into the renegade region of Chechnya.
1996: Tory paymaster-general, David Willetts, resigned after a damning report about his involvement in the Commons cash-for-questions affair.
2001: The People’s Republic of China joined the World Trade Organisation.
2008: Bernard Madoff was arrested and charged with securities fraud in a $50 billion Ponzi scheme.
2013: It was announced that 20 people had died of bubonic plague in the small village of Mandritsara in Madagascar.
Births: 1707 Charles Wesley, Methodist and prolific hymn writer; 1781 Sir David Brewster, Scottish physicist and inventor of kaleidoscope; 1803 Hector Berlioz, composer; 1843 Robert Koch, Nobel Prize-winning bacteriologist; 1904 Joe Coral, bookmaker; 1918 Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, novelist and historian.
Deaths: 1282 Llewelyn Ab Gruffydd, Prince of Wales; 1892 William Milligan, theologian; 1964 Sam Cooke, singer; 1965 Ed Murrow, journalist and broadcaster; 1996 William Rushton, broadcaster; 2008 Bettie Page, model.